California pastor paid $40,000 to have his daughter’s boyfriend shot, police say

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A California pastor is accused of paying hitmen nearly $40,000 to shoot his daughter’s boyfriend in an attack that wounded but did not kill him, authorities said.

The pastor, Samuel Pasillas, 47, of Victorville, California, was one of two men arrested in connection with the murder-for-hire investigation that began last year after the attempt in Riverside, California, police said.

Mr. Pasillas was arrested on March 13 and charged with solicitation of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, the Riverside Police Department reported. said in a statement on Tuesday.

Juan Manuel Cebreros, 55, of Long Beach, California, was also arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Although police spoke of men hired for the shooting, they did not immediately identify any other suspects.

An attorney listed for Mr. Pasillas could not be located Wednesday. It was unclear whether Cebreros had an attorney.

The investigation stemmed from a shooting that occurred on Oct. 21, when a man drove to a hospital with gunshot wounds and reported he had been attacked while driving around 7 p.m. in the Orangecrest neighborhood of Riverside, a city about 55 miles away. miles southeast. of the Angels.

The man who was shot, who was not identified by authorities, said another vehicle pulled up next to him as he approached Plainview Street.

Then the shooting began.

“Shots were fired from this other vehicle and he was hit several times,” police said in their statement.

Officers later found evidence of the shooting at the intersection of that street and Grove Community Drive. They had not said what weapons were used in the attack.

Robbery-homicide detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and were assisted by the Riverside Police Department’s problem-oriented policing team and crime analysis unit.

Detectives discovered that the attack had been “a shooting for hire,” police said. The man who was attacked “had been dating a woman whose father is a pastor of a Spanish-speaking church in the city of Victorville,” which is about 40 miles north of Riverside in San Bernardino County.

In their statement, which identified Mr. Pasillas as the pastor, the police did not name his church. Los Angeles Times identified the church as an International Center of Prayer.

Rafael Porras, who answered a phone number registered with the church and identified himself as senior pastor, said he had no comment on the arrest or the investigation, but said Mr. Pasillas had been a volunteer at the church for 10 years and does not form part of his staff.

Detectives found evidence that Pasillas had met with men he had hired and provided them with information about the victim, including where he would be the night of the shooting, police said.

It was not immediately clear from his statement what evidence police had connecting Mr. Pasillas and the men involved in the shooting. The Riverside Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The department said Pasillas paid nearly $40,000 and had monitored the victim in the weeks before the shooting.

Detectives served search warrants at homes in Victorville, Long Beach and Lynwood, all in California, on March 13, when the arrests were made.

Pasillas and Cebreros were held on $1 million bonds each at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, police said. The two men have court appearances scheduled for March 26 at the Riverside Hall of Justice, according to inmate records.

Alain Delaquérière contributed to the research.

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